Greenbelt to build a duckweed biorefinery supported by AJY Foundation

Greenbelt Resources Corporation (Greenbelt) announced on May 18 the signing of
a Letter of Intent by the
Andrew J. Young (AJY) Foundation to build a
biorefinery in the southeast USA based on Greenbelt’s proprietary ECOsystem
technology.

[1][2]

According to the press
release
, these are the preliminary data about the planned facility:

[3]

Feedstock

Duckweed
(lemnaceae).

Products
and production capacity

Bioethanol:
500,000 gallons per year.

Protein
concentrate that will be sold to organic feed mills and food ingredient
manufacturers.

ECOsystem
biorefinery cost

$5.0
million (over an estimated $14.0 million total project cost)

Start-up

It is
expected to be operational 15 months after breaking ground

The construction of such facility forms part of
a bigger initiative called “Duckweed Project” which is aimed to empower small
farmers by providing technical knowledge on growing duckweed as a cash crop and
selling it as a feed for biorefining. Below, we are going to delve into this
interesting initiative and the ECOsystem technology.

The AJY Foundation is a non-profit public
charity that supports research and development on new technologies that have
the potential to create sustainable jobs and a more equitable society in rural
America, Africa and across the globe. In this pursuit, the Foundation is
currently focused upon finding sustainable solutions for food insecurity and
malnutrition, reengineering traditional agriculture and medicine and
inclusivity in the financial system for the impoverished sections of society
worldwide.

In this context, the Foundation is boosting a
program related to lemnaceae, a subfamily of plants commonly known as duckweed.
It is a small, fast growing, protein rich, aquatic plant that floats on the
water’s surface. Duckweed, once processed, can produce food, energy, fuels and
fertilizers. Moreover, it can help clean-up water. The AJY Foundation believes
that duckweed can play a vital role in the quest for answers to the
aforementioned problems. On a local scale, duckweed can revolutionize
agricultural landscape by providing an alternative cash crop for the farmers
that would revitalize impoverished rural communities with new jobs, training, business
and educational opportunities.

Figure 1. Nutrient rich duckweed (extracted
from the presentation “
Duckweed
Project – A nutritious solution for humanity
”)[5]
So far, the high cost to fertilize duckweed
inorganically has made it prohibitive to grow it commercially for producing
protein concentrate and ethanol for market demand. The proof of concept phase,
leaded by the inventor and thinker Freddie Hebert, of the Duckweed Project showed
that it is possible to fertilize the plant in a self-sustaining way at an
affordable cost. Protein concentrate is produced by using the corn ethanol
process to remove the starch from duckweed. Recycling of the yeast water, after
ethanol and solids are removed, to the duckweed growing area makes it possible
to grow it twice its normal size with no outside nitrogen. Duckweed doubles its
weight every 24 hours and this process is 100% organic.

A USDA-funded feasibility study conducted by
Agregy Renewables on behalf of the AJY Foundation outlines a commercialization
plan focused on financing and developing as many as 20 more duckweed biorefineries
over an eight-to-ten-year timeframe, initially in the southeast and western USA
and then across the globe.

Greenbelt and its ECOsystem technology

Greenbelt is a company focused on delivering
modular solutions that enable the localized processing of locally generated
waste into locally consumed products. Controlled by proprietary automated
controls, Greenbelt’s small-scale, end-to-end modular systems convert wastes
(food, beverage and cellulosic residues) into commercially viable advanced
biofuels, animal feed, fertilizer and filtered water.

The company owns a test facility in Paso Robles
(California), known as PRECO (Paso Robles ECOsystem). It is a system designed
to produce half a million gallons of bioethanol from a variety of feedstocks
available in the Paso Robles area. PRECO utilizes such feedstocks as waste trub
from the nearby Firestone Brewery and winery wastes from the over 310 wineries
in the local area. The ECOsystem technology can also be custom-designed to transform
other feedstocks of local areas into bioethanol and bioproducts.

The feasibility study of Agregy Renewables found
that Greenbelt’s technology “has been proven to be very cost effective and
energy and operationally efficient at the small scale of operation for the
Duckweed Project (…) recent commercial plant installations including
Greenbelt’s test-bed facility in Paso Robles (CA) have shown to be technically
viable to convert a wide range of biomass feedstocks to ethanol, animal feed
and fertilizer.”

References

  1. ^ Greenbelt Resources Corporation (www.greenbeltresources.com)
  2. ^ Andrew J. Young (andrewjyoungfoundation.org)
  3. ^ press
    release
    (www.greenbeltresources.com)
  4. ^ The Lempro Duckweed Project (www.lempro.net)
  5. ^ Duckweed
    Project – A nutritious solution for humanity
    (www.lempro.net)

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